We’re using the power of collective impact to bring peace to families of murdered or missing people by combining data, technology, and the wisdom
of the community.
More than 200,000 unsolved cases have gone cold since 1980, and murder clearance rates continue to drop. With equity for BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and other underserved victims not prioritized in the true crime community—together we can do better.
There are many tools in the cold case toolbox and no one person knows how to use them all to their full potential. Thankfully, you don’t have to. You just need to have a collection of people that do.
— Gene Miller, Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office, Criminal Investigator, High Priority Offender Unit,
National Best Practices for Implementing and Sustaining a Cold Case Investigation Unit
While the podcast Serial may have ignited new interest in true crime in the last few years, people are switching from entertainment consumption to a passion for activism to help solve cold cases.
We’ve created a step-by-step guide to develop your unique abilities, test your knowledge, and even discover new talents. We need more Citizen Detectives to polish their skills to join us at Uncovered!
What you’ll learn with this guide
• Spark new insights for how you perceive information
• Understand key components to request public information
• Support further education and skill development
• Evaluate key processes for data collection
• Engage diverse methods in desktop research
The guide also comes with work space so you can map out your next case and prepare for the launch of Uncovered to combine publicly available information, with the ever-growing wisdom of the crowd, to do something that matters and find the intersection of justice, peace, and closure for families.
What 500 people have to say about true crime
We heard you when you said:
“I would definitely already be willing; I just wouldn’t know where to start!”
“Knowing my own potential to help and being armed with tools to help without disrupting ongoing investigation”
“Being able to identify clear opportunities to gather information that (I) was not looking into.”
“Feeling like I could make a meaningful contribution to it. Is there a path to get my research to someone who could affect the outcome?”
We took notice when:
89% of those surveyed said that they look for additional info on cases on more than one platform.
62% of people say they would take action by collaborating with others if they knew the victim.
On average, true crime and cold case info come from 4 to 5 sources with podcasts and documentaries leading.
Families Deserve Answers; Victims Deserve A Voice, And No One Should Be A Statistic.
Together We Can
Make A Difference
We’re combining publicly available information, with the ever-growing wisdom of the crowd, to do something that matters and find the intersection of justice, peace, and closure for families. Stay up-to-date with the latest case details.
Cold Cases Unsolved Murders
There are more than 200,000 cold cases in the US. One question that might arise is: are cold case files available to the public? While there are surely files that law enforcement may not release publicly because they contain sensitive information that may hinder the future prosecution of a case. Some cases have actual information released online by the police in hopes that they will produce new leads from new eyes. The Golden State Killer (GSK) is a hybrid case that had a lot of information available online from numerous citizen detectives, but the police actually held a lot of files. When asked by Michelle McNamara about their existence she was able to see and interact with these once held resources.
There are actually a number of cold case resources that are publicly available data and records. These can be available via sites such as Namus, The Charley Project, Black and Missing Foundation, Inc (BAMFI), DNA Doe Project, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Database, and the Trans Doe Task Force. They can also range from local unsolved cold cases to the most gruesome unsolved murders and even resulting in famous cold cases solved.
Not just a popular television show, but unsolved mysteries more than likely are cold cases that have gone unsolved for many years and have spanned generations searching for answers. These cases can be famous unsolved child murders, like the case of JonBenét Ramsey, a child beauty queen murdered in her home the day after Christmas in 1996. This is quite possibly one of the most famous unsolved child murders, with numerous theories, documentaries, podcasts, and online groups dedicated to finding an answer to what happened to JonBenét. Or famous unsolved murders, like the case of Karen Bodine, a young mother murdered in Olympia, Washington and her body staged and left in a gravel pit near the interstate in 2007 or the case of Kurt Sova, who in 1981 went to a Halloween party and was found dead days later under mysterious circumstances that left her murder unsolved.
Even a famous unsolved serial killer, such as the Zodiac Killer who left numerous unsolved homicides in Northern California from at least the late 1960s to the early 1970s. The Alphabet Murders, in which three underage girls were assaulted in the early 1970s and later strangled all over Rochester, New York. The girls have one thing in common, other than the manner of their deaths: their names were alliterative. The Highway of Tears Murders in British Columbia, where a startling number of young women have died or been murdered along a remote section of the highway since 1969. Many of these women are First Nation, prompting locals to argue that prejudice played a role in the attacks as well as the lack of progression in the unsolved cases. The Freeway Phantom from Washington, D.C. where six young black girls were brutally raped and killed within a year and a half of each other, they were between the ages of 10 and 18. The killer left a note on one of the final victims that read: It read: “This is tantamount to my insensitivity to people especially women. I will admit the others when you catch me if you can! – Free-way Phantom”.
Even cases in other countries go unsolved, like the Bible John killer. Here three brunette females between the ages of 25 and 32 were murdered in Glasgow, Scotland during the late 1960s after attending a music and dancing venue known as the Barrowland Ballroom. The victims were then beaten, raped, and murdered after departing the club with the mystery man who quoted the Bible. In the end, these unsolved mysteries should ideally become mysterious murders solved. With Uncovered, we hope to accomplish this with the help of collective impact and the use of data.
Unsolved Case Files
So now what? Where to begin? The main question here: how to start a cold case investigation? This can take many forms. First things first, finding information on a case. Perhaps a cold case you are interested in—local to you, or a personal connection. How to look up a cold case or how to get involved in cold cases begins with desktop research. Public databases of the missing news reports, family-run Facebook Groups, podcasts, documentaries, and even Reddit threads. All of these resources are key for volunteer cold case investigators to be successful.
Cold Cases Unsolved
So now what? Where to being? The fundamental question here: how to start a cold case investigation? This can take many forms. Uncovered is committed to providing resources to digital volunteers and citizen solvers to become citizens detectives and uncover answers in cold cases. First things first, finding information on a case. Perhaps a cold case you are interested in—local to you, or a personal connection. A recent survey from Uncovered relayed that from the 500 people interviewed and an overwhelming response to getting involved in solving a cold case is proximity.
How to look up a cold case or how to get involved in cold cases begins with desktop research. Public databases of the missing news reports, family-run Facebook Groups, podcasts, documentaries, and even Reddit threads. All of these resources are key for volunteer cold case investigators to be successful. A list of cold cases can be obtained from an online cold case database. There are numerous and many specific to each state, volunteers may have created a cold case database California or a cold case database Indiana, or Florida cold case database. Even cities may maintain databases like one for Indianapolis unsolved murders. In fact, unsolved cases and recent unsolved murders are all part of cold cases that go unsolved.
Famous Unsolved Murders
Undoubtedly, there are always famous murders that dominate headlines and make local murders harder to gain attention and resources. The most precious of which is eyes on a case. While many of these most famous unsolved murder cases have now become lore, such as those of Jack the Ripper or the Black Dhalia—also known as Elizabeth Short and actress from the 1940s, who was brutally murdered in Los Angeles. Her mangled body left staged in a vacant lot only to be found by a passerby. Her case is still unsolved and in some circles serves as a cautionary tale from old Hollywood.
Unsolved child murders are possibly the hardest cases. The case of JonBenét Ramsey, a child beauty queen murdered in her home the day after Christmas in 1996. This is quite possibly one of the most famous unsolved child murders, with numerous theories, documentaries, podcasts, and online groups dedicated to finding an answer to what happened to JonBenét. But also cases of
unsolved family murders.
There are various unsolved family murders that exist all over. Many in other countries, such as the De Ligonnes Family murder case. Recently covered via the newest reboot of Unsolved Mysteries. This case takes place in France. Agnes Dupont de Ligonnes and her four children were shot and killed while sleeping in their beds. Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes, her husband is the prime suspect, as he abruptly disappeared after the murders, had set into motion an elaborate plan to announce that the family was leaving the country and could not be contacted. The bodies of the victims were found buried in the backyard of their home, along with their two dogs. Xavier Dupont de Ligonnes is thought to be the murderer, and a manhunt is still underway.
Cases involving unsolved family murders are often at the hands of a family annihilator.
John List, a longtime fugitive, finally captured after decades on the run for killing his family of five in New Jersey. This case while solved was filed under unsolved family murders for a long time, as he was not captured. The death of the Grimes sisters is also an unsolved family murder, a double murder that took place on December 28, 1956, in Chicago, Illinois, United States. When returning from a movie theatre to their home in McKinley Park, two sisters named Barbara and Patricia Grimes vanished. One of the largest missing persons investigations in Chicago’s history was sparked by their disappearance. About a month later, their bodies were discovered along an isolated road. This case remains unresolved. Chicago’s history was sparked by their disappearance. About a month later, their bodies were discovered along an isolated road. This case remains unresolved.